Things to Remember When Using WordPress – Part I

If you aren’t a web developer but you are a DIYer and you’ve decided to install WordPress yourself, there are some things that you should keep in mind to watch out for along the way.  In fact, there are many things to consider.   Fortunately, none of them are so difficult to understand that you can’t master them yourself if you have the time.  This article covers the first of these items:

Choose your username with care.

Don’t give anyone who is up to no good an easy opportunity to exploit your website.  Make it as difficult as possible for hackers to take control of your site, and start by selecting something other than the default “admin” username.  I prefer to set up usernames for my clients that are intuitive but not obvious, and I add in the odd special character for good measure.

Don’t forget to update your site’s tagline.

It’s important to make sure that you change the default WordPress tagline “Just Another WordPress Blog” to something meaningful for your business and your website.  Just go to Settings >> General in your dashboard to update your tagline.  Don’t forget to update your changes.

Avoid using the default permalink structure.

The default WordPress permalink structure is awkward, difficult to understand and definitely not search engine friendly.  Fortunately, WordPress allows you to switch to a more user friendly permalink structure by going to Settings >> Permalinks.  Everything you need to understand about creating good permalinks using keywords can’t be covered in this article, but suffice to say that your permalinks should use keywords and slugs that make sense and are appropriate for the main subject of the page or post.  I typically select the Post Name option within Permalinks.

Remember to Optimize Your Images.

Site speed should be important to you regardless of your level of expertise with website devleopment.  We’ve all experienced a slow website.

One way to make sure your website loads at the fastest speed possible is to make sure your images are optimized before you upload them to your media library and use them in your pages and posts.  In my opinion, it is a mistake to upload uncompressed or huge images and rely on WordPress to take care of the optimization.  While WordPress does have good image handling capabilities, these do not take the place of you optimizing your images beforehand.  Most industry standard graphics software will do this for you.

If you are unsure about doing this yourself, and you really would prefer to have WordPress handle this, you can elect to use a WordPress plugin such as WP Smush to do the optimization for you.

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